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America’s number 3 airline is making a ratings grab. Starting this Friday, August 1, Delta Airlines will roll out Delta Studio, the carrier’s own branding of a Gogo wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) system called Gogo Vision, and will begin offering free access to movies, TV shows, music and video games on all of its domestic flights that last 90 minutes or more. Delta passengers can access free Delta Studio entertainment through seat-back screens where available or via a video player app downloaded on their own smartphones, tablets or laptops.
On Delta and Delta Connection domestic aircraft that are equipped with IFE (in-flight entertainment), Delta Economy Comfort, BusinessElite and First Class passengers will get free, unrestricted access on their seat-back systems to in-flight entertainment that includes live satellite TV channels, music and games, as well as premium movie and TV selections. Regardless of whether seat-back IFEs are available, passengers in these classes will also receive free streaming access to movies and TV shows on their mobile devices via the Gogo video player app (for iPhone and iPad as well as Android) or Delta’s Fly Delta app for iPad, either of which must be downloaded pre-flight.
For Economy passengers, access to a limited selection of free on-demand movies and TV shows will be available, while premium entertainment content will cost $6 per movie and $1 for each TV episode.
At present, Delta has 140 domestic aircraft equipped with embedded IFE, and as part of its fleet-wide interiors upgrade program, the airline plans to add these seat-back entertainment systems to more than 150 additional domestic narrow-body planes through 2016; these planes will include many of Delta’s 757-200s, 737-800s and Airbus A319s. Additionally, Delta’s 100 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft scheduled for delivery through 2018 will also be equipped with embedded IFE.
Though I’m still less than thrilled about Delta’s recent changes to its loyalty program, it’s great to see the airline offering such a welcome perk aboard its domestic flights. In an industry that’s often monkey see, monkey do, I can only hope that more domestic airlines will soon follow suit.